How effective is your management of a dispersed workforce? This is a hot topic of discussion among many business owners and supervisors these days, especially since the COVID-19-inspired stay-at-home orders are posing a challenge for managers including HR, more at a time when many companies are implementing a remote work policy for the first time. According to recent data from the Society for Human Resource Management, three-quarters (71%) of companies are finding it difficult to adjust to telework as a means of doing business (SHRM). These difficulties can lead to the failure of work-from-home initiatives, which is one of the primary reasons why some executives are skeptical of remote work.
There’s no denying that supervising teams that “do not meet in person” is a difficult responsibility. It requires the ability to engage, enable, empower, and trust others, among other things. However, as leaders, if we bear in mind that teams are made up of people with diverse personalities, preferences, working styles, and life phases, we may make tremendous progress in efficient remote work management. Consider the following useful hints, approaches, and resources!
Understanding remote workforce management
The process of leading and managing remote employees and temporary workers as efficiently as feasible is known as remote workforce management. To determine what steps, you need to take to ensure business as usual in the wake of the unanticipated shift in work schedules, you must first determine the challenges that remote employees face that sap productivity
5 tips for effective remote work leadership
Now that we live in a remote work world, with many companies adopting it as a long-term strategy, how can you reorganize your leadership style to fit the expectations of a remote workforce? While there are some challenges to working remotely, there are a few basic and inexpensive things that leaders can do to make the transition simpler. Fortunately, most good leaders don’t need to pivot very much. That’s because any effective leader excels at a variety of skills, including empathy, communication, demonstrating concern effective organizational skills and give and receive feedback.
Guess what? It would interest you to know that employees are concerned about empathy more than just their salary. They are concerned with culture, and they place high importance on empathy. Champion leaders are those who introduce or retain empathy in their followers. Champions are compassionate and foster innovation in their followers.
What exactly does empathy have to do with leading remote teams? Everything! It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in the same room or working virtually if you lead as a champion of ideas and incorporate empathy into how you manage a team. Empathy pervades a company’s culture, allowing employees to be more creative in their problem-solving and collaborate on solutions.
Leading remote teams demands a set of skills, including the ability to communicate effectively and directly, both verbally and nonverbally. Leaders must clearly communicate expectations, goals, and outcomes. Being a clear communicator is crucial whether your only communication with a team member is via email, text, phone, or video chat. More so, it is much more likely that you and your teammate will misunderstand each other or overlook crucial facts. Leaders can address this problem by scheduling weekly check-ins through text or videoconference on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other platforms to boost communication because it is nice to see everyone’s face. These check-ins can take place on a team or individual basis.
Of course, you care about your staff, but do you communicate this to them effectively? Working from home can be difficult for some people, especially those who have children to care for. They will almost certainly want logistical assistance, such as your ability to be flexible with work hours and even deadlines. In addition, because many people experience loneliness and frustration while working from home, they may require additional emotional support. Make it plain to employees that you and the company are there to help them in whatever way they may need.
Effective organizational abilities
When you manage a remote workforce, you have a lot more to keep track of. There are, for example, daily and weekly check-ins with team members, metrics used to evaluate each employee’s performance, and a continual record of who’s been assigned which responsibilities, so no one is overworked. The only way for remote leaders to make this work is for them to keep meticulous track of all of these items personally, or to recruit a highly organized and dependable team member to do it on their behalf.
Give and receive feedback
There are some boxes to check and monotonous duties to accomplish in leadership; it is not just about generating opportunities that lead to great work. It is vital to provide regular feedback to employees, especially when managing a remote workforce (even if it’s not perfect).
Make a point of praising your team members for everything they do well so they might get the confidence to perform even better. Furthermore, as a leader, you may always improve. As a result, keep the lines of communication open and welcome.
It is not easy to lead distant teams. We know this because we’ve spent the previous few years doing exactly that, with our employees dispersed across Ghana and other countries. What’s important to remember however is that, when times change, so should our work habits, which include developing new tactics to boost productivity in our organizations. Assisting individuals in transitioning to a new normal, providing suitable tools, and ensuring that they have the required insights to assess what is working and what needs to be improved are all part of this.
Please share your own recommendations for effective remote work leadership in the comments section!
For further reading, we recommend The Suddenly Remote Playbook by Toptal